“The High Note”
RELEASE DATE: May 29, 2020 (streaming)
MPAA RATING: PG-13 (for some strong language and suggestive references)

Knowing that Tracee Ellis Ross is the daughter of legendary performer Diana Ross, one might have expected the actresses’ big screen offering in The High Note to be a biopic, or at the very least be loosely based on her mother’s career. Rather, The High Note focuses more on the singer’s personal assistant turned record producer.

Set in modern day Los Angeles, The High Note features Ellis Ross as Grace Davis, a famous performer desperately wanting to keep-up with the ever-changing music scene and who treats her personal assistant, Maggie Sherwoode (Dakota Johnson) as a “less than” until circumstances — and plot developments — evolve to a point of her recognizing the young producer’s talents.

Although the film, directed by Nisha Ganatra and written by Flora Greeson, is rather slow out of the gate, the performances are enjoyable and there is good screen chemistry between Ellis Ross and Johnson. There are also fine supporting roles by Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Ice Cube, and Bill Pullman.

If one manages one’s expectations about what this film may have been, The High Note is a fine film that succeeds in spite of itself.